More Explosive Data: Total On-Demand Music Streams Rose 49% in 2018

Once again, Drake and XXXTentacion continue to lead the surge in streaming music consumption.  But that’s only part of the story.

According to BuzzAngle Music’s 2018 Year-End Report, subscription streaming accounted for 85% of all audio streaming in the fourth quarter in the US.

Audio on-demand streams set a new record high in the US of 534.6 billion total streams.  This number rose 42% over 2017, when audio on-demand streams reached 376.9 billion streams.

Total on-demand streams also set a new high last year with 809.5 billion streams, up 35% over 2017’s 598 billion.

Unsurprisingly, Drake and XXXTentacion topped the 2018 tally, part of a continued surge in rap and hip hop.

Now, Nielsen Music has released its own Year-End Report of the US music industry.  And, it has some interesting finds.

The music industry continues on the rise thanks to streaming.

According to Nielsen’s just-published data, the music industry experienced significant overall growth in 2018.

Total album equivalent audio consumption grew 23% over 2017.  This was driven by a 49% increase in on-demand audio song streams last year.

Unsurprisingly, Drake’s ‘God’s Plan’ had more than 1.5 billion streams.  The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 11 weeks.  ‘God’s Plan’ also led total song consumption – digital song sales with streaming equivalent on-demand audio – with 7.4 million units.  This includes over 918 million on-demand audio streams.

Ed Sheeran’s ‘Perfect’ led song sales with 1.3 million in permanent downloads so far this year.  Nielsen’s report tracks until the week ending 1/3/2019.

Unlike BuzzAngle Music, however, Nielsen didn’t note the number of subscription streams.  Instead, it bundled all streams as ‘on-demand audio streams.’

Among other highlights, music streaming volume continued to rise.  On-demand audio song streams reached 611 billion in 2018, up 49% over 2017.

On-demand music streaming volume – including videos – surpassed 900 billion streams.  This marks a 43% increase over the same period last year.

Vinyl sales continue to rise significantly, up 15% over last year.  During the 11th annual Record Store Day, vinyl sales once again broke records.

Digital purchasing – i.e., song downloads – continued to decline sharply.  Yet, digital audio consumption – digital albums + track equivalent albums + on-demand audio streaming equivalent albums – rose 34%.

Only four songs passed 1 billion streams.  These include Drake’s ‘God’s Plan’ and ‘In My Feelings,’ Juice WRLD’s ‘Lucid Dreams (Forget Me),’ and XXXTentacion’s ‘Sad!’

You can view the full report here.